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Aruba EdgeConnect Microbranch Extends Security, SD-WAN Into The Home Office

The HPE-owned company’s latest remote networking offering is a “powerful” solution that pushes SD-WAN and security services out to the home office, retail pop-ups and kiosks, and microbranch locations, through only one dedicated appliance, one Aruba partner told CRN.

HPE-owned Aruba Networks has introduced a new networking offering for small offices, home offices, retail pop-ups, and mobile use cases.

EdgeConnect Microbranch, unveiled Tuesday, pushes SD-WAN and security services out to home workers, microbranch offices, and ad-hoc locations through one access point, no gateway, agent, or additional hardware needed, said Eve-Marie Lanza, senior solutions marketing manager for Edge, IoT, and Hybrid Workplaces for Aruba.

Aruba has been addressing small office and hybrid working environments since the introduction of its Remote Access Point (AP) solution back in 2008. EdgeConnect Microbranch, however, addresses the changing office landscape and the proliferation of hybrid work that’s gained momentum over the last nearly two years, Lanza said.

“Experience at home doesn’t always match what’s going on at the campus. The imperative is really on organizations to deliver that equivalent of the enterprise campus experience to the home worker, and that’s what EdgeConnect Microbranch does,” she said.

[Related: Aruba Networks, Pensando Team To ‘Take On The Giants’ With ‘Industry-First’ Distributed Services Switch ]​

EdgeConnect Microbranch is part of the AI-powered Aruba ESP (Edge Services Platform), which also now includes SD-WAN services from the company’s Silver Peak purchase so that home workers also have access to strong connectivity, security, and zero touch onboarding experiences, no matter where they are located, according to the San Jose, Calif.-based networking specialist.

The offering, which customers will be able to easily add to existing or new Aruba APs at home, at a branch office, or pop-up location, will address the common issues that users are running into today around connectivity challenges and performance problems when using demanding applications, like videoconferencing, Lanza said.

Aruba has had leading remote working solutions, and organizations that that that find value in having a single dedicated appliance at a microbranch or in employee homes will now have more capabilities to enhance user experience or provide enhanced security to those environments, said Benjamin Sterley, director of data services for Aruba partner LAKETEC, a North Olmsted, Ohio-based MSP.

“It’s no longer: ‘We work from home a few times a month.’ People ae going to go back and forth and they need to have that seamless experience, regardless of where they are,” Sterley said. “When they are remote, they are doing the exact same things they might be doing in the office, as well as heavy voice and video, and we also need all this extra security, because people are going to be heavily dependent on network that IT doesn’t control.”

Security continues to be a big problem for businesses grappling with remote users and edge locations, she said. EdgeConnect Microbranch lets businesses extend its security framework to any location, including employee homes, kiosks, and small offices, with no additional hardware necessary.

“When you’re talking about the best way to extend the services to the home, other vendors talk about adding in a lot of different software pieces that IT has to manage and a lot of different hardware pieces that folks have to put in their home office,” Aruba’s Lanza said. “The beauty of EdgeConnect Microbranch is that these SD-WAN and SASE services are now delivered just through any Aruba AP so you’re looking at one piece of equipment.”

Aruba partners will be able to add EdgeConnect Microbranch capabilities to existing hardware their customers may already have at their microbranch locations or in the homes of remote users.

“Any time we can add additional features to something that somebody already has, that helps us to retain those customers,” LAKETEC’s Sterley said. “For new organizations that maybe were on the fence about whether or not they wanted to put a device in everybody’s house, I think these added capabilities may accelerate that adoption. It’s powerful,” he added.

EdgeConnect Microbranch will be generally available in March 2022 and can be added to any Aruba AP running ArubaOS 10 with a Foundation AP License, including qualified APs customers and channel partners already own and manage in Aruba Central, the company said.

The Aruba EdgeConnect Microbranch solution is now available in early access.

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